Decision Making

We make decisions every day. Some are simple and easy; others require more time as we weigh the pros and cons. Leaders are faced with dozens of decisions daily. In the book “The Alchemist” Paulo Coelho said, “Making a decision was only the beginning of things.” Even wrong decisions lead to valuable learning experiences.

What has been a big decision you have had to make? I thought about decisions like new jobs, grad school, and moving to a new country. Everyone, at some point, is afraid of making the wrong decision. Many people are scared to take risks, and we fear the unknown as we try to predict the outcome. We also fear failing, and thus too often, we limit ourselves and think that by not making a decision, we are somehow escaping the choice. Avoiding making decisions leads to frustration and uncertainty. Procrastinating heightens stress levels and reduces the quality of your choices. For example, there was a time when I battled with myself daily about if I should get up and exercise. No matter how much I would procrastinate, the decision did not go away.

Eventually, the daily decision is no longer a choice; it is just a part of my routine.

In the movie “The Blind Side” Michael Oher wrote an essay on courage.

“…you can have courage on a dumb idea or a mistake… it depends on who you are and where you come from… any fool can have courage… but honor that is the real reason you do something. It is who you are or maybe who you want to be. So you should hope for courage and try for honor.”

We have courage when we face the unknown. In decision-making, honor is when we do what is right—making decisions with our heads, hearts, and guts. It is not always an easy decision, and it is not always a popular decision.

Each decision shapes your team and your future. There is no perfect decision, and not everyone will like your choices. Learn to trust yourself and your decision-making. Good decisions can be made with limited information. In the book Leading from the Front, Angie Morgan and Courtney Lynch writes that a good decision can be made with only 80% of the information. When your heart, brain, and gut tell you that you have 80% of the data, make the decision.

Decisions making requires:
• Research
• Creativity
• Critical thinking
• Time management
• Trust your intuition
Decision-Making Steps:
• Identify the Challenge
• Devise Solutions
• Weigh options
• Makes a choice
• Inform others of the decision

Effective decisions can save time, propel work projects forward, and increase productivity. Good decisions making establishes and builds trust with employees. A vital leadership trait is to stand by decisions and admit to mistakes. Good leaders surround themselves with trusted advisors and subject matter experts to make better decisions. Once again, there is no perfect decision, and all decisions lead to valuable learning experiences.­

By Cheryl Viola, MBA, Executive Director